(Notes 1-7-2010: Yes, I am well aware that the Bratz are not dead yet. A search of toysrus.com reveals that Bratz products are still around. Darn! Oh, and I originally posted this entry on my Yahoo! GeoCities blog on December 4, 2008.)
Anyone who's read my blog knows by now that I hate materialism. I prefer to replace things only when they either stop working or become unreliable. I hardly ever shop at malls. I've never owned a car that was less than five years old. I firmly believe that "form follows function"; that is to say, I care about how something works far more than it looks.
Well, in 2001, a company called MGA Entertainment launched a line of dolls that promoted and even glorified materialism in the most arrogant fashion. Even the name screamed out "spoiled and materialistic": Bratz. I had hoped that parents would refuse to buy them and they would die a quick, quiet death in the "marketplace of ideas," right alongside the "New Coke," McDonald's Arch Deluxe hamburger, and stupid movies like Gigli and From Justin to Kelly.
Oh, but little girls loved them, and apparently, today's parents don't have the same sense of responsibility in dissuading them from making bad decisions that, say, my parents had. Otherwise, how would one explain the rise among children in violent behavior, drug use, obesity, and Type II diabetes? Or, for that matter, the success of Bratz?
I cringed every time I saw Bratz displayed prominently in some store ad, be it Toys R Us or Target, thinking thoughts like: How could people, in good conscience, buy this crap? Now there's Bratz babies and Bratz pets, and next thing you know, maybe Ford will come out with a Ford Explorer Bratz Edition.
But there is good news: Those pesky, materialistic, ignorant, disgusting, skanky, brutal, bottom-feeding trashbag ho's are about to become history.
See, Bratz designer Carter Bryant developed that ill-conceived concept while working at Mattel. Mattel sued MGA in 2004, and just yesterday, they won. MGA can't make any more of the infernal toys, and after the holiday season, they will be pulled from store shelves everywhere. What an unexpected relief. That's one more thing to look forward to in 2009--a New Year, Bush leaving the White House, the transition to digital TV, and no more Bratz.
So long as we're on the subject of materialism, I want to touch upon the dark side of last Friday. You've already heard or read about that 34-year-old security guard being trampled to death at that Wal-Mart on Long Island, and also that shooting at the Toys R Us in Palm Desert, California (thankfully, it was two men shooting each other, not some angry kid taking out some trivial frustration on innocent people as initially feared). It makes you want to rethink the concept of Black Friday (substantial discounts on select items for a limited time). Long lines are one thing, but if there's violence and lawlessness, stores may decide it's no longer worth the trouble. Is there really anything in the world--let alone in a store--worth smashing doors and trampling people for?